Recently, 24 commercial trucks were rendered useless at an auction house in Pennsylvania when the Common Powertrain Controller (CPC) modules were stolen from the trucks’ dashboards. A string of CPC thefts across the country have left truck owners and fleets with unusable trucks at a time when having available equipment is vital to keep operations running.
Similar to the influx of stolen car catalytic converters because of their trace amounts of rare metals, CPCs are known as the brains of commercial trucks and fetch a high price on the black market. Controlling the engine and powertrain functions, trucks cannot run without a CPC.
Compounded by current supply chain disruptions, due to the global shortage of microchips, trucks whose CPCs are stolen are often considered a total loss because of the difficulty sourcing new ones.
Seven ways to address CPC theft for drivers and fleet carriers
A proactive approach is the best deterrent for theft of any kind, especially when it comes to crucial elements that keep your fleet in motion. Here are seven ways insurance brokers can advise their fleet owners and operators on how to help deter CPC theft both on the road and when a vehicle is not in use:
1. Lock the doors. While this might sound like an obvious way to deter theft, drivers often leave trucks unlocked during the loading and unloading process, and when stopping for a break when parked at their place of domicile. It’s all about limiting access to the dashboard. All power units should be routinely locked and secured when not occupied - even if the driver is steps away from the cab for just a minute or two.
2. Plan your route. An essential element of safety and theft prevention is route planning. Pre-planning routes can help pinpoint safe locations to stop when on the road.
3. Seek safe parking. Drivers should locate a fenced or gated location to park, either at their home terminal or when out on the road, paying close attention to choose well-lit areas when available.
4. Select a secure password. All CPCs in fleets should have designated passwords which can be set by contacting the CPC manufacturer.
. 5. Report stolen CPCs. Fleet carriers and truckers should notify local law enforcement and truck manufacturers immediately after a theft occurs.
6. Cross-reference vehicle identification numbers from CPCs. CPCs brought in for installation to dealerships and repair facilities should be checked against the company’s database of CPCs to ensure the module hasn’t been stolen or illegally sold.
7. Notify officials if you discover a stolen CPC. Dealers and repair facilities should call local law enforcement and the trucking manufacturer when a stolen CPC turns up.
CPC theft is a major disruption for fleet operations. In addition to replacement and repair costs, stolen CPC units can result in missed delivery deadlines for the fleet and disruptions for the businesses waiting for the delivery.
Future deliveries will be impacted as well as motor carriers contending with supply chain issues while they wait for a new CPC. Worst-case scenario: Your vehicle could be totaled if CPC replacement parts cannot be found.
Contact IAT for more information for minimizing the threat of CPC theft.